Texas Live Oak
Coast Live Oak, Southern Live Oak Escarpment Live Oak, West Texas Live Oak
Fagaceae (white oak group)
An impressive oak tree with a large, sprawling canopy once mature
Large shade tree, with a spreading, downward growth habit
Given proper growing conditions, oaks can grow to a massive size over a long period of time, producing generous shade. Provides food and shelter to a variety of beneficial insects and wildlife. Locate carefully; provide ample space away from structures and utilities
Average mature size
60’ tall x 70’ wide (can exceed both)
Slow to moderate, long lived
Evergreen except during short period of leaf change (spring)
Pests and disease
Susceptible to oak wilt
Consider provenance (origin) of the tree; purchase a tree grown from a regional seed source to ensure adaptability, as nursery stock of unknown origin may not survive (ask your nursery professional). Maintenance may be an issue, as oaks seasonally drop flowers, acorns and leaves. Produces high-quality hardwood.
“Botanists see no difference between the coast live oak and the escarpment live oak of the Hill Country, and in terms of how they look, they’re right. They’re both big, powerful looking live oaks. But there’s all the difference in the world in how they grow. The coastal live oak isn’t nearly as drought tolerant; around Houston, it lives in heavy clay, often in seasonally-standing water, and is usually draped with Spanish moss. One other difference; the coastal oaks aren’t as cold tolerant as its escarpment relative. All the live oaks growing between the Hill Country and the Gulf are hybrids of these two.” – Sally Waskowski, Native Texas Plants.
“Scarcely any other tree develops the distinctive, spreading habit of the live oaks…” – Scott Ogden, Successful Gardening with Difficult Soils.